A long while back, Dave and I had a celebratory dinner at a lovely steak joint. Strangely enough, the most memorable part of the whole meal has stuck with me for years. It’s strange because the best part of that incredible meal was our salads.
Yes, we’re salad people (Dave more so than me; he could live on it) but this was the best salad I’ve ever had. All thanks to the incredible dressing. Isn’t it weird how, no matter how wonderful the ingredients, the dressing can make or break a salad?
I recently made a variation of the dressing, and my reasons for posting it are twofold: 1) I thought you guys might like to try it, and 2) I’m purely selfish – a quick blog search is the best way to find a recipe I like (I do it 2-3 times a month for my mini meatloaf recipe).
So, since it would be weird to post just a dressing recipe (wait…I’ve done that before), here’s the lunch I made for Dave and I. By the way, you’ll get used to the fact that it’s a warm vinaigrette. I promise!
Mixed Salad with a Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
3-4 slices bacon (cut in half)
1-2 shallots (depending on size; I had 1 large and 1 small)
A good splash of vinegar (I used white wine, but white or apple cider would work)
1/2 tsp – 1 tsp dijon mustard (I honestly used deli mustard, LOL)
1-2 tsp sugar or honey (maple syrup would probably work beautifully, too)
Splash olive oil if needed
Salad greens (I mixed mixed greens with extra romaine)
Strawberries (optional – I used, Dave didn’t)
Tomatoes (optional – Dave used, I didn’t)
Hard boiled eggs (optional – again, me not him)
Shaved Parmesan or Romano
Bring eggs to a boil and start cooking bacon on medium to medium-high heat. While cooking, plate your lettuce and prep your add-ins (and finely chop your shallot).
Do you really need a visual of bacon and eggs cooking? Sure, why not?
When ready, drain bacon on paper towels. Place all but 4-5 tbsp of bacon grease in a separate bowl; in the 4-5 tbsp, toss the shallots and cook until soft and translucent. Take eggs off heat, drain, and replace water with cold a few times (a cold rinse helps).
When shallots are done, add the sugar, vinegar, and mustard and whisk to combine. Finish assembling salads by arranging sliced eggs, strawberries or tomatoes, drizzling with the vinaigrette, crumbling two half-slices of bacon (per plate), and shaving cheese on top.
Finish with salt and pepper (though not necessary) and enjoy!
This made enough for two large “lunch” salads, and we took the leftovers for “work lunches” the next day. I had to throw a little extra EVOO into the dressing to make enough for the next day, but if you reserve your extra bacon fat, this won’t be an issue. Just a heads-up.
Give it a go and let me know how you like it! And, while you’re at it, let me know — what was in the BEST salad you ever had?